The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the BBC is being sued by Steven Clark, who says he invented the evil Davros, creator of the Daleks for a contest run by the (now defunct) magazine TV Action magazine in 1972.
Readers were challenged to to create and design a villian to appear in a DOCTOR WHO comic strip that appeared in the magazine villain, and Steven Clark asserts he “invented the name Davros and sent in a drawing of the character along with a handwritten essay called The Genesis Of The Daleks: The Creation Of Davros. ”
Mr. Clark did not win the contest, but the judges included the fourth Doctor Doctor Jon Pertwee, DOCTOR WHO script editor Terrance Dicks and producer Barry Letts.
To his surprise, in 1975 the series aired a serial titled Genesis of The Daleks, and featured a character named Davros that looked very much like his drawing. The story, written by Dalek creator Terry Nation (BLAKES 7), did not follow the essay by Clark, though the name Kaleds, an anagram of Daleks did appear.
According to his suit, the then 16-year old Clark did not make a claim at the time, because he had lost his copies of his entry. He says that twenty years later he re-discovered them, stuck inside the family’s encyclopedias—but erroneously believed that too much time had passed to file a legal claim.
The article states that tens of thousands of pounds may be due Steven Clark, if his assertation is true. He’s quoted as saying:
“The money aspect of it is not my primary motivation. I am proud of the character I created and I just want my work to be recognised. It would be nice to be finally linked to the character after all this time.”
If true, the BBC should acknowledge the fact, however contests of this nature usually have rules that grant all right to submissions to the contest organizers and television shows whith which they’re connected.
Personally, the sketches make be slightly suspicious, as they are so close to what appeared on screen, which would have been a rarity for the BBC’s independently-minded designers and FX departments of that era.